Best tradeshow marketing tips and case studies. Call 800-654-6946.
Best tradeshow marketing tips and case studies. Call 800-654-6946.


Prepping Your Tradeshow Program for the New Year

A Checklist

  • Write down all the shows you’re attending and the specific size of booths you’ll be setting up. Include dates, shipping addresses, products to be promoted, introduced or launched.
  • Plan social media broadcasts and interactions for the shows. Make a list of needed collateral, photos, videos and more that you’ll need to have.
  • List all of the various vendors you’ll use during the year, such as tradeshow exhibit houses, I&D (Installation and Dismantle) groups, shippers, graphic artists/designers, printers, promotional products providers and more.
  • Create a list of the people from your company will be attend each show. Check out show websites to find out dates that hotels open for reservations. Most show websites will have a downloadable PDF with critical dates, addresses and other information. Create a folder on your computer to store this information for easy reference.
  • Put all of the pertinent dates on your calendar with reminders if needed.
  • Speak to all of your vendors to get information on what is required for updates, including graphic file specs, turnaround time for any updates to the booth or repairs that need to be made.
  • Prepare sales and marketing materials.
  • Is your event staff going to wear uniforms or branded t-shirts? Get them ordered ahead of time.
  • Confirm event registration for all attendees.
  • Confirm booth registration for all shows.
  • Confirm schedule for payments and amounts.
  • Finalize budget for the year ahead.
  • Contact targeted attendees and book meetings a few weeks out, maybe a couple of months out if it’s a big show.

Being a tradeshow marketing manager is a non-stop, year-round job. Never-ending! By keeping things as organized as possible you’ll have a better handle on all of the loose ends that come up. Hopefully this list will help you out!

Have a great 2019!


6 Months of TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee Guests

This month marks two years of the vlog/podcast TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee. Most of the time I have a guest. And most of the time those guests are from the event industry. I don’t feel that guests must be from the tradeshow and event industry, but most of them are. I do want to have chats with people that are doing interesting things in business and would make for an interesting conversation. Browse through here for brief but insightful conversations with experts in tradeshow marketing, public speaking, communication, technology, entrepreneurship, photograph and much more!

Here’s a wrap of the guests that have appeared on the show in the past 6 months or so (all links open a new tab):

Kelly Mooney: a professional photographer with tips on creating a great headshot.

Internet marketer and public speaker Kathleen Gage discusses business, public speaking and marketing.

Mary Lou Burton is an event organizer and promoter. Her latest event is the annual Cannabis Collaborative Conference.

National Speaker Association Hall-of-Famer Terry Brock.

Entrepreneur and profitability consultant Thor Conklin.

Business credit expert Gerri Detweiler.

Communication skills expert Bill Lampton, Ph. D.

Marketing Expert Robert Middleton.

How does “revitilization of the human spirit” relate to tradeshows and events? Andrew Bennett of the Bennett Performance Group digs into this with me.

Classic Rental Solutions General Manager Jim Shelman looks at rental exhibits in 2018.

Author and entrepreneur Chris Reimer discusses his new Boosa Tech powerbank.

Publicity Hound Joan Stewart discusses some great ideas to create publicity around a tradeshow.

Sales Trainer Jeff Bajorek discusses sales prospecting.

Magician and professional tradeshow presenter Robert Strong.

International tradeshow expert Larry Kulchawik.

Tradeshow marketing  consultant Mike Thimmesch.

Professional photographer Irina Leoni discusses her approach to creating photos that tell a story about a business or a person.

Nathan Grepke, President of Blue Pony, talks about video and audio technology used on the tradeshow floor.

Subscribe to the podcast here! And subscribe to our YouTube channel here.


Exhibit Design Search: Recent Updates (video)

it’s been awhile since we’ve walked through the coolest online exhibit search tool in the world: Exhibit Design Search. Take a look at some of the new changes:

Click here to search.


TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee October 30, 2017 [video/podcast]

Entrepreneur and Author Peter Shankman has a new book out – his first ‘non-business’ book – and I got a chance to talk to him about it on this week’s TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee. The book is called “Faster Than Normal,” and the topic was a good one for discussion:


Find the book “Faster Than Normal: Turbocharge Your Focus, Productivity, and Success with the Secrets of the ADHD Brain” here on Amazon.

Peter’s Faster Than Normal podcast is here.

ONE GOOD THING: Tickets to an upcoming Foo Fighters concert!


TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee: September 25, 2017 [video/podcast]

One of our go-to vendors in the tradeshow world is Classic Exhibits. They’re an ambitious and creative bunch, replete with designers and fabricators that have been able to do anything we and our clients have asked. This week I sat down with VP of Business Development Mel White to discuss a couple of things: the exhibit rental market and the additions they’ve made to their online Exhibit Design Search. Take a look / listen:


Mel’s ONE GOOD THING was attending the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes at 9 am and witnessing the eclipse!

My ONE GOOD THING: Steely Dan. Walter Becker of the band passed away this month, so it’s been good to go back and listen to some of the great songs that Becker and his writing partner Donald Fagen have given us over the years. In fact, it wasn’t long ago I ran across a great video on how Steely Dan composes a song: Take a look:

And subscribe to the audio version of the podcast here.




TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, June 19, 2017 [video replay and podcast]

I take a look at blogging: what it takes, why to do it, how it works, what kinds of content you can use, and a little commentary on how it’s worked for me at


The Tradeshow Road Warrior Web Roundup

When it comes to assembling a list of what it takes to be a tradeshow road warrior, there’s nothing like tripping around the web to see what other people say, right? I travel a handful of times a year for work, and maybe a time or two for pleasure, but the real road warriors know more than I. Let’s take a look:

Morag Barrett, founder and CEO of SkyeTeam chimes in on Entrepreneur with These Five Tips Will Turn You Into a True Road Warrior. For example, use TSA Precheck, take shoe bags and make sure you have backup power for your devices.

Tradeshow Road Warrior

At, Suzanne Lucas takes the flip perspective: 10 Tips to Survive Life with a Road Warrior. If you’re a spouse or partner who’s home with the kids, life can be difficult. She offers tips such as making use of technology to stay in touch, don’t save things until he gets home, make family a priority and more.

Jessica Pettitt offers Packing and Travel Tips to Become a True Road Warrior in a post on Speaker Magazine. She speaks staying in touch with family and friends, getting good exercise, and of course, packing!

On, Laura Stack gives us The Way of the Productive Road Warrior: Advice for Newbie Business Travelers. She covers how to plan for travel, plan for lots of downtime, be loyal to your airline for more points, and more.

From the Wrike blog for brilliant teams, Emily Bonnie offers Road Warrior Productivity: Must-Have Tips and Tools. Tips include carrying extra business cards, tackling the busy-work (emails, expense reports, organizing your computer, etc.). Tools include having a good battery backup for devices, staying hydrated during long flights, and taking podcasts along.

Heading to Europe for business and pleasure? Here are some tips for saving $$ from Rebecca Lehman on Brad’s Deals: 20 Things I’ve Learned That Save Money While Traveling in Europe. Tips include do a lot of walking, take public transit, don’t tip at restaurants and eat at food cars, among others.

Whether you travel half the time, or just a few times a year, it does take some time and thought, and yes, some experience, to make the travel go smoothly.

Grab our Free Report: 7 Questions You’ll Never Ask Your Exhibit House


TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, March 20, 2017: [Video Replay]

In this First Day of Spring vlog, I discuss skiing in the rain and sun on the same weekend, listening to podcasts by Peter Shankman and Chris Ducker, and the logistics of shipping your tradeshow exhibit:

One Good Thing: the NCAA Basketball Tournament.

Audio Podcast Version:


Cold Calling Blues

cold calling, sales

When it comes to sales, you are in charge. Nothing happens in a business until a sale happens. Without the sale, nobody in the company is asked to build or provide anything to a client. Nobody is able to send out an invoice or bill. No money comes in, no bills get paid, no employees get paid. So until a sale happens, whether it’s on the street, in the store, online or at a tradeshow, nothing happens.

This was one of the first lessons I got when I moved away from talking into a microphone for a living to selling tradeshow exhibits. It puts a lot of pressure on ya! But it also opens doors to growth that you might not often recognize, or otherwise have in your life.

As a company owner at TradeshowGuy Exhibits, I’m responsible for many things – one of them is to bring in business: to make a sale. And frankly, it’s a competitive marketplace. There are a lot of good tradeshow companies, designers and fabricators out there. So, like any other company, we’ve tried any number of things: advertising in local and national publications, Google Adwords, sending out regular newsletters, soliciting referrals from current clients, blogging and other types of inbound marketing, social media outreach, walking the floor at tradeshows, gathering information on exhibitors to follow up later…and cold calling.

But, you say…Isn’t cold calling a good way to bug people? To interrupt them? To intrude upon their busy day? After all, in this online world, if people want to find what you’re selling, shouldn’t they be able to do it online? Certainly, but since being online in a crowded world isn’t perfect, businesses need to be able to reach potential buyers directly.

And that means cold calling.

Frankly, I’ve never been a big fan of cold calling for a number of reasons, but as my Sandler Sales trainer keeps telling me, “You don’t have to like it you just have to do it.” And with better tools and more effective questions, it becomes easier. And, as with any other selling method, it can bring in business.

In the past 30 days of cold calling I’ve uncovered several leads for potential projects. I’ve even found half a dozen people that told me “you should have called a couple of weeks ago!” as they just made a deal for a project.

Which tells me a number of things:

  • Businesses are buying
  • Every business is in a different situation and you might be exactly what they’re looking for
  • If you use cold calling as part of your selling strategy, as in any part of your strategy, you’ll continue to uncover leads

So to bring this around full circle and relate it to tradeshow marketing, it’s worth doing. Your audience – your potential clients – are all in different situations. Some may have just purchased exactly what you’re offering. Others may not need your services for another year or more. But some will be in the perfect sweet spot where their needs match up with your product, service and capabilities.

Get the free report “7 Questions You’ll Never Ask Your Exhibit House”


Tradeshow Execution is Not Outside the Box

thinking tradeshow marketing outside the box

“Outside the box.” Should you be thinking about your tradeshow marketing using an outside-the-box approach?

Well, that depends. If you can come up with an unusual way to draw crowds, or do pre-show marketing that whets attendees’ appetites, I think you’ve got something going.

But if you’re looking for something outside the box when it comes to actual execution of all of the needed elements, you’re probably better off drawing inside the lines.

When it comes to greeting visitors with a smile, having a pertinent question for them, and responding to questions with accuracy and integrity, you’re on the right track.

When it comes to having a booth that meets all of your function needs, from attractive graphics and proper demo or sample areas to storage and meeting, you’re probably going to want to do it by-the-book.

When it comes to tracking lead generation, sales follow up and tracking ROI, keep it on the straight and narrow.

In other words, do all you need to do using tried-and-true activities designed to effectively execute the functions of exhibiting – stay inside the box – and you’ll be happier for it.

But when it comes to getting people’s attention through what might be considered outlandish or outside-the-box promotional methods, have at it.

Just make sure that once all of those people get to your booth, you have the systems and experience in place to benefit from them.


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